You likely have already noticed. The world you and I share is not in such good shape these days. The list of challenges, problems and frighteningly compelling global issues is growing and seems not to be affected much by our hopes that it will change or our desire to have it somehow be resolved by someone else. Long gone are the days when we can rely on ‘them’ to do it. You know who I mean – the experts, or the people in charge or the folks who run the country/world. It’s becoming more and more difficult to NOT pay attention and wonder: what will life be like for my children and/or my grandchildren? It would appear that it’s up to each of us to become what is required to redefine our world.
When the Declaration of Evolution by Intention was drafted early in 2006, it reflected the benefit of having worked with thousands of people over more than 20 years. The Declaration is a statement that reflects my deep and unshakeable belief in who we are as human beings and more importantly, who we are capable of becoming. Without complexity and bathed in a sense of the sacredness of our origins, it is intended to offer a new platform on which to stand as we each consider the choices that await us in our lives, from one breath to the next; and to remind us that we have the ability to evolve with intention. The question is, are we willing to do what it takes?
When I look around at my world and how I move through it, what I see are endless invitations for me to begin to notice that every choice I make is a reflection of my state of being, which then defines my world. If my world is in trouble (and it is), it’s time to stop and ponder not only who I already am but who else I might become. As the collective that we are transforms itself, so too will its reflection be transformed.
There are many others who speak far more eloquently and succinctly to the specifics of our current challenges. Al Gore, in his powerful presentation AnInconvenient Truth, lays it out in such a way that we can no longer fool ourselves into thinking that it’s ok for us to ignore all of it and trust that it’s all hype and hyperbole. Add to his voice that of Dr. Ervin Laszlo, Founder of the Club of Budapest and founder of systems philosophy and general evolution theory, who in his latest book TheChaos Point: The World at the Crossroads declares his belief that we have approximately seven years to avoid global collapse and promote worldwide renewal. Yikes! Tough to keep your head in the sand after experiencing what these two well-educated and well-informed men of great personal integrity have to offer for us to consider.
But perhaps Mark Twain says it best when he writes: -It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”. Many of the notions and ideas; many of the philosophies, theologies and models of the world that we cling to, no longer serve us. Before we can get to Vancouver, we must become willing to leave Toronto behind, even if it doesn’t feel good to go.
There are lots of things we don’t know about how to change our world and our lives. Nonetheless, I don’t believe for a second that it’s over for us. Nor do I believe that in order for our world to change; for our quality of life to be transformed, every human being on the planet must find their voice. However, what it does require is that those who have found their voice must become both willing and able to use it!
What do we do with all this? How do we make a difference in our lives and in our world? How do we get up tomorrow morning and decide, ‘Today – this day, this moment, this breath – is the day I make a difference in my own life!” The world we live in is a reflection of the beliefs, values and attitudes we carry about ourselves and each other. Not just the planet but all that is alive and vibrant upon it – including our cultural, social, familial, religious, economic, medical, educational systems, to name but a few – are reflections of our beliefs about ourselves and about each other. Nothing ‘out there’ will change until we first begin to create change ‘in here’, where we live.
Our world and its ability to continue to sustain life (ours and its own!) depends on one thing: my ability and your ability to be both willing and able to continue to evolve. Who we are in this moment is not what is required, since it has given us what we already have. If we want something different (and I believe we do), we must become willing to choose mindfully who we desire to become…again and again…as a way of being. We are not seeking answers. We are seeking to find joy and a sense of discovery in the questions.
Over the years, I’ve learned that it does not have to be hard. I share with you a few of my own discoveries that have made a difference in my life, for me and for the people I come in contact with. Perhaps as you ponder your life and how your day might unfold differently, these simple thoughts will stay with you and help you along your own journey of continual evolution. The good news is – no matter how much you become, there is always more!
- Be gentle with yourself. If you can’t give what you haven’t got, your capacity for compassion, tolerance and patience with others will be a philosophy that struggles to become your way of life. Learning to be gentle with ourselves teaches us to recognize that moment when it is so desperately required in someone else.
- Listen. Whether it’s the conversation you’re having with yourself or one that you’re engaged in with another human being, don’t just listen to what is being said. Take a breath, relax and listen for who the person is revealing him/herself to be – their beliefs, dreams, intentions, fears, etc. Listening for who someone is rather than listening to the content of what someone is saying is an act of intimacy. Not only do we allow ourselves to really look at someone, we give ourselves permission to look into someone. In that single moment we also realize our own vulnerability as we awaken to the ease with which we are able to be seen by others.
- Trust your experience. To trust your experience, you must first learn to trust your body since that’s the only place experience can occur. Your intuition…your instincts…your ‘gut’ feel…are your body’s way of offering you huge amounts of information in a single wave of intelligence. As much as you and I have been pummeled into ignoring such things, life expands very quickly and effortlessly when we choose to pay attention. Trouble does not come from paying attention to this experience – it comes when we choose to ignore it!
- It’s always about you. No matter what you notice in someone else; no matter your judgments of another’s thoughts/opinions/behavior, you only notice because there is some meaning or relevance in your own life. Rather than judge, argue or condemn, consider asking yourself: what is there for me to learn about myself from this experience? How is this person/behavior/situation an expression of some aspect of my own consciousness? Your willingness to get curious about YOU will prove to carry far more potential for you than the finality of your interpretations and judgments.
- Breathing is good! Begin to pay attention to how many times during your day you catch yourself holding your breath or breathing very shallowly into the top of the lungs. In that moment of noticing, don’t bother chastising yourself, just stop…take a long, slow, deep breath…and let your intellect relax into your body. If you want to deepen your state of relaxation, hold your breath on the exhale for a count of three before inhaling again. The key is to breathe S-L-O-W-L-Y. Although it may seem like an eternity, 90 seconds can change your life.
One last thought: not only do we need each other, we care deeply about each other. It is the essence of who we are. I believe that to attempt to deny this about ourselves causes us great harm, with this personal wounding making it possible for us to become harmful to each other. When I wrote my first book, FullyAlive from 9 to 5!, the following passage was, for me, one of thegreatest truths of my own experience:
-We are not helpless. We are people of dignity, integrity and courage. We have what it takes to build what we want, using the full extent of our resourcefulness which includes all of who we are – past and present. Our past offers the intelligence that we require in order to embrace more of our own potential, not because we remember the past but because by digesting/metabolizing it, we are transformed. Remembering it does not make us better human beings – evolving from it, does. Without it, there are no lessons learned: no experience, no wisdom and no compassion, for ourselves or for others. Our past is intended to teach us, not to tether us to what was or limit who we might become.”